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Some questions for anyone using a 3d printer and scanner to make replacement parts


Dec 7, 2011
East Coast USA
OK, so I finally sat down to get my Matter and Form 3d laser scanner working that has been sitting in a box for over a year (I think my kids used it once or twice). I also just ordered an upgrade to my 3d printer extruder so that I can make more detailed plastic parts as replacements for vintage computer unobtanium.

Before I ask my questions... FYI: I haven't used Autocad since 1991 and usually just download from thingiverse for my 3d printer (i.e. Apple Watch stands, toothbrush holders, ...)

So here are my questions...

- After scanning an item like an Altair card guide, what do you use to clean up the STL file before printing? Is there something easy/quick to learn since some items I can see needing things like holes added or areas removed in the model since the 3d scanner isn't perfect?
- Do you guys cleanup the plastic using acetone or sand paper to make them look smooth or do you leave them looking 3d printed.

Personally, for most vintage and retro computing objects I would use some calipers and 2D sketches/extrudes to replicate the object, the same as if I were modeling a new part in my daily job.

This creates an editable body in your CAD program that you can tweak to adjust for the tolerances, etc of 3D printing. Where as the meshed .STL file is quite difficult to edit.

I use Autodesk Fusion 360 - it is free license for non-commercial use and commercial use up to I think $100k/year of revenue. For things that I want to be available in an open format, OpenSCAD is 'okay' for simple objects, still don't have a good solution for complex objects.